Monday, March 6, 2017

The Lessons of Heirloom Quilts

In honor of her upcoming 105th birthday, I want to dedicate this post to my Beloved Grandma Molly. She passed away in 2011, 6 months before she would've turned a century old. She lived at home, mostly alone up until a month before her death. She is an inspiration to me and I miss her dearly. She loved to cook for her family and was a lifetime quilter. When I was little, she would show me her old trunk full of quilts she and her mother had made over the years. She would tell me stories about the quilts, which led to more stories about her, Granddaddy Hancil, her parents, grandparents, and her 14 brothers and sisters. Granddaddy passed away two months before their 72nd Anniversary.

When I see a quilt, I think of Grandma Molly.

For my 13th birthday, she gave me a Butterfly Quilt she had made when she and Granddaddy were married in 1933. I loved that quilt! After several years, the old fabric started deteriorating and was in desperate need of repair. By that time, Grandma was up in her years and was unable to fix it.
One day, I happened to see a quilting show that was doing an episode on how to repair a 1930s Butterfly Quilt. That’s when I knew I should try repairing the quilt myself. I found reproduction fabrics of the era and proudly repaired it. When Grandma saw it, she couldn’t tell where the repairs had been made.

After her passing, I inherited her old trunk full of quilts. When I opened that old trunk, I was flooded with old memories. What a beautiful gift to receive. In that old trunk were many old quilt tops. One that she called a Crazy Quilt. I always loved that top because it had a couple of pieces of fabric of the old fashioned Mickey Mouse on it. I quickly went to work making that top into a quilt.

Another treasure I found was a quilt that was made out of silk ties. This quilt was made by Grandma’s mother. The silk ties had belonged to Grandma’s brother, Joe. Grandma always said that she thought the quilt was 90-100 years old.

Finally, I found 16- 24×24 inch Dresden plate squares that Grandma made out of old feed sacks. I had to do something with those squares! I was even having dreams about them. I decided to piece these squares into a finished quilt and quilted it by hand. I started this project September 2012 and finished October 2013. For a beginner, I thought it turned out great.

Over the last year working on the quilt, I spent a lot of time thinking about what Grandma went through to get those Dresden plates together. You can see 2-3 small pieces of fabric sewn together to make one little section of the plate.

To me those small pieces had a lot significance
1. During the Depression era, you appreciated what God gave you and never took it for granted. Something we all could learn from.
2. Little things that seem too small and worthless can lead to something bigger, better, and beautiful.
3. Dream big! No matter where you start, dreams do come true.

Portions of this post was featured at Mona Hodgson's Blog

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  1. Beautiful post, beautiful quilts! You are so very talented!

  2. Thank you, Frances, for your kind and encouraging words.